Billed as a “healthcare companion”, a crowdfunded intelligent home robot called Pillo may be the robot pharmacist of the future.
An Indiegogo campaign by a group of health, robotics, AI and software experts, is planned to start shipping Pillo Home Edition to its supporters by July 2017.
At the time of writing, the campaign had raised over US$68,000, not far short of its $75,000 flexible goal.
Pillo, which tech sites are calling the “future robot pharmacist” and the “pharmacist of the future,” is described by the campaign as “an intelligent home robot dedicated entirely to the health and wellbeing of you and your loved ones”.
“Pillo empowers people of all ages to better manage their health,” the campaign says.
“He can answer your health and wellness questions, connect you directly with healthcare professionals, and securely manage your vitamins and medication; storing, dispensing, and even ordering refills when you need them.
“And he’s intelligent, so his functionalities will grow as he learns about you and your family.”
The robot sources its health and wellness information from verified sources, the developers say, and can connect users with a health professional in minutes.
It also securely stores up to four weeks’ worth of vitamins and medications in tamper-proof containers within the device.
Identity recognition systems ensure that the medicines are dispensed for the correct user.
Pillo sends reminders when people need help taking their medicines on schedule, and automatically reorders medicines from the user’s preferred pharmacy.
A recent HealthXL report looked at whether home-based digital health devices could address medication non-compliance, taking in the perspective of clinicans, investors and pharmacists among other stakeholders.
It highlighted that the estimated rate of medication non-adherence globally is 50%.
125,000 deaths occur in the US each year as a result of medication non-compliance, it points out, with millions more as an indirect result.
The pharmacist contributor to the report, Aimee McRae-Clark, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences and Neuroscience at the Medical University of South Carolina, said that an ideal medication adherence solution for clinical trials would be one that is non-intrusive and cost-effective, and could both monitor and enhance adherence.
“Such a technology would have important research and clinical implications,” she says. “Home-based devices should allow accurate, real-time medication ingestion data, as well as facilitate timely intervention in the case of non-adherence to improve treatment outcomes.”